Environmental Technologist Program

The Environmental Technologist program is designed for people who have a love for the outdoors and a strong interest in environmental sustainability. This program allows students to learn about the natural world in the classroom, spend an abundant amount of time in the field with hands-on learning, and the ability to apply it to current natural resource management issues.

This program is available to International Students. Our Designated Learning Institute (DLI) number is 0111010246767.

Environmental Technologist

Watch our Environmental Technologist video to see yourself here!

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24 Hour Winter Survival

Students in our Environmental Technologist program spend a night in the forest!

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More international students are choosing Portage College to start or complete their studies because of the personal attention they receive and the high standard of instruction.

Career Potential
Graduates may enjoy careers in industries such as Environmental Consulting, Forestry, Oil & Gas, or working for Non-Profit Organizations, First Nations, or Municipal, Provincial, or Federal Governments, in opportunities such as: 

  • Soil Surveying/Sampling
  • Fish Surveys
  • Bird & Nest Surveys
  • Vegetation Surveys
  • Construction Monitoring
  • Block layout
  • Wildfire Firefighting/Monitoring
  • Replanting & Replant Surveys
  • GIS/GPS Technician
  • Pest Surveys
  • Various Forestry Careers
  • Construction Monitoring
  • Environmental Planning & Permitting
  • Ecosystem Mapping
  • Timber Damage Assessment
  • Phase I/II Environmental Site Assessments
  • Pollution/Spill Remediation
  • Reclamation
  • Pipeline Monitoring
  • Wetland Mapping & Evaluation
  • Rangeland/Riparian Health Assessment
  • Wildlife Surveys
  • Water Quality Monitoring
  • Stakeholder Consultation
  • Research Assistant
  • Traditional Land Use Assessment and Related Research
  • First Nations-led Research & Environmental Stewardship
  • Conservation/Fish & Wildlife/Environmental Officer
  • Public Land Management
  • Fish/Wildlife Technician

 Credentials: Diploma

 Industry Certifications - Valued at over $2800

  • Basic Drone Pilot's Licence
  • Standard First Aid
  • Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG)
  • Workplace Hazardous Information System (WHIMS)
  • Bear Awareness
  • Petroleum Safety Training
  • Wilderness Skills
  • Pesticide Applicator's License
  • All-Terrain Vehicle Operator
  • Chainsaw (WTA)
  • Ground Disturbance
  • Trailering and Load Securement
  • Electrofishing

Admission Requirements
High school diploma with at least one course from each of the following:

  • English Language Arts 30-2 at 60%
  • Biology 30 (recommended), Chemistry 30 or Science 30 at 50%, or Biology 20 or Chemistry 20 at 60%
  • Math 30-2 at 60%

Students who do not meet admission requirements can contact Student Services regarding opportunities for placement testing. Students will need to submit an application to the program to start this process. Students are also encouraged to look into Open Studies.

Use this chart to check Provincial high school equivalencies accepted at Portage College. Note: This is just a guide.

English Language Proficiency Information


Program Start
August 29, 2024

Application Deadline
Domestic Student: August 15, 2024
International Student: June 30, 2024 (Applications will be considered if you can obtain a study permit and all the relevant documents before July 15, 2024)

Lac La Biche Campus

Domestic Student Fees
Application Fee $53.50

Fall Term
Fee payment deadline: August 15, 2023

Tuition $2556.72
Student Association $116.70
Technology Fee $82.71
Recreation Fee $54.57
Course Package & Materials   $275.00
Total $3,085.70

Winter Term
Fee payment deadline: December 15, 2023

Tuition $2556.72
Student Association $116.70
Technology Fee $82.71
Recreation Fee $54.57
Total $2,810.70

Total tuition & mandatory fees for year:  $5,896.40

Part-time Fees
Tuition is calculated using “cost-per-credit” one credit is $170. Calculate the cost by multiplying the number of credits per course by $170.

Visit  Portage Bookstore for textbooks and supplies

Same fees apply for Year 1 and 2.

International Student Fees
Application Fee $160.00
Tuition Deposit $3500.00 (non-refundable)

Fall Term
Fee payment deadline: August 15, 2023

Tuition $8272.40
Student Association $116.70
Technology Fee $82.71
Recreation Fee $54.57
Course Package & Materials   $275.00
Total $8,801.38

Winter Term
Fee payment deadline: December 15, 2023

Tuition $7670.15
Student Association $116.70
Technology Fee $82.71
Recreation Fee $54.57
Total $7,924.13

Total tuition & mandatory fees for year: $16,725.51

Guaranteed yearly tuition for 2024-25 -Year 2 of program started 2023-24 not including mandatory fees: $16,249.35

Visit  Portage Bookstore for textbooks and supplies

Other purchases may be necessary in order for students to complete their courses/program.

Open Studies just might be perfect for you!

Not sure which program is the best for you?

Open Studies gives students the unique opportunity to experience more than one program at a time and offers the flexibility of enrolling in individual courses rather than a complete program.

It's a great option for those looking to take general interest courses or those who don't quite meet the entrance requirements for a specific program.

Admission requirements vary by individual course, so students interested in this option must meet with a Student Advisor before enrolling.

For more information: Open Studies

The Open Studies option is available at any of our main campus locations.

Environmental Technologist


    Course ID: NRES106


    Hours: 80

    Credits: 3

    Various parent geological material, deposition modes, and soil horizons will be identified in mineral and organic soils. Soil forming processes and factors will also be covered. Field studies will include the Soil Orders of the Canadian Soil Classification System, geomorphology, parent material deposits, soil textures, and their relation to vegetation expression. Groundwater recharge, movement and discharge, and potential of contaminant movement in groundwater will be discussed. Using industry-standard sampling equipment, soil samples will be collected and analyzed in the field. Groundwater gradients will be determined through piezometers, installation of piezometers will be demonstrated.  Soil mapping, field report writing, electronic data collection, and handling will be performed. Infield collections, Chain of Custody Procedures, and QA/QC handling will be implemented.

    ELA30-1 or 60% in ELA 30-2 
    Biology 30 (recommended) or 60% in Biology 20, Chemistry 30(recommended) or 60% in Chemistry 20, or Science 30
    Math 30-1, or Math 30-2 at 60%


    Course ID: NRES115


    Hours: 80

    Credits: 3

    The conservation and management of fish resources is contingent on a sound understanding of fish ecology, including habitat requirements. These factors vary greatly on latitudinal and altitudinal gradients, as well as between lotic and lentic systems. Therefore, this course aims to provide the unique practical field experience and academic skills required for exciting and challenging careers in fish culture, habitat and stock assessment, fisheries enhancement, conservation, management, and research. Students will gain experience in fish habitat measurement, assessment, and monitoring. Techniques covered will include: passive and active sampling, extraction, preparation, and analysis of cartilaginous structures for age estimation, necropsy and health assessment techniques, stream assessment protocols, Species At Risk considerations, creel survey data collection and analysis, fish culture and stocking, and sport and commercial fishery regulations. Field research involving collection of fisheries field data used to complete scientific reports will also be a vital part of this course. Prerequisites: NRES 112


    Course ID: NRES107


    Hours: 80

    Credits: 3

    This course investigates the importance and features of wetlands, lakes, streams, and riparian areas. We will learn and practice proper techniques for water testing, looking at physical and chemical properties, phytoplankton, zooplankton, and aquatic invertebrates. Students will also learn how to classify both lakes and streams, and discover the aquatic invasive animals and diseases that are of highest concern in Alberta. We will study the three wetland classification systems currently used in Alberta, and the Alberta Wetland Rapid Evaluation Tool. Students will also practice assessing wetland and riparian area health, and learn strategies for improving it.

    ELA30-1, English 30, or 60% in ELA 30-2 or English 33
    Biology 30 (recommended) or 60% in Biology 20, Chemistry 30(recommended) or 60% in Chemistry 20, or Science 30
    Math 30-1, Math 30-2, Pure Math 30, Math 30, Applied Math 30 (60%) or Math 33 (60%)


    Course ID: NRES108


    Hours: 80

    Credits: 3

    This course will cover the common native trees, shrubs, forbs, graminoid species, mosses, and lichens of the boreal forest of Alberta, with an emphasis on learning plant family characteristics. The basics of plant structure, function, and terminology will also be studied.

    ELA30-1, English 30, or 60% in ELA 30-2 or English 33
    Biology 30 (recommended) or 60% in Biology 20, Chemistry 30(recommended) or 60% in Chemistry 20, or
    Science 30
    Math 30-1, Math 30-2, Pure Math 30, Math 30, Applied Math 30 (60%) or Math 33 (60%)


    Course ID: NRES109


    Hours: 80

    Credits: 3

    This course starts with a review of math calculations and conversions commonly used in the natural resource science field, including weight and measures, converting values from Metric to Imperial, calculating areas, volumes, and estimating streamflow/discharge and stockpile volumes in the field. Students are introduced to basic calculations and data management using Microsoft Excel. Students also learn to work with forestry maps. The use of topographical and multipurpose resource maps is studied. Interpretation of locations, including habitat and geological features, using the Global Grid System, Universal Transverse Mercator System, and the Alberta Township System are covered. The course culminates with field navigation labs designed to provide students with hands-on experience using field measurement and navigation equipment to orienteer in Alberta’s boreal forest. Proficiency in compassing and traversing in the field at or beyond industry-standard are required as part of this course.

    Prerequisites: Math 30-1, Math 30-2, Pure Math 30, Math 30, Applied Math(60%) or Math 33 (60%)


    Course ID: NRES110


    Hours: 80

    Credits: 3

    This course focuses on the identification and control of weeds. Weed species covered include the common, noxious, and prohibited noxious weeds of Alberta. A selection of weed species will be grown in a greenhouse setting so that they can be observed throughout their life cycles. Various methods of weed prevention and control including mechanical, cultural, biological, and chemical methods are presented. Issues with weeds, such as the problems caused by them, legislative requirements, and herbicide resistance will be discussed. This course includes certification as a Pesticide Applicator Assistant, as well as in the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) and Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG).

    ELA 30-1, English 30, or 60% in ELA 30-2 or English 33
    Biology 30 (recommended) or 60% in Biology 20, Chemistry 30 (recommended) or 60% in Chemistry 20, or Science 30. Strongly recommended NRES 108 Field Botany


    Course ID: NRES112


    Hours: 95

    Credits: 3

    This course covers the ecology and identification of birds, fishes, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians common to Alberta’s boreal forest. Identification by sight, as well as by sound for anurans and birds, is introduced. Field activities include fish capture and identification, identifying and documenting wildlife signs, remote camera wildlife surveys, and avian presence/absence and abundance surveys. The course also reviews the primary pieces of legislation that concern fish and wildlife in Alberta, including conservation organizations.

    Prerequisite: ELA 30-1, or 60% in ELA 30-2 
    Biology 30 (recommended) or 60% in Biology 20, Chemistry 30 (recommended) or 60% in Chemistry 20, or Science 30


    Course ID: NRES113


    Hours: 80

    Credits: 3

    This course will explore Forest Management objectives in Alberta, with emphasis on current insect and disease problems and forest fire suppression. Topics include forest inventories, road building, harvesting, timber salvage, quota holder's right to manage the forest, and the challenges with management of oil and gas dispositions of exploration and mining of subsurface minerals in an ecological and sustainable manner. A brief introduction to the history of the First Nations and Metis communities in the forest region, before and after the arrival of the Europeans, and their views and role in maintaining the forest ecology is viewed.

    Prerequisite: ELA 30-1, English 30, or 60% in ELA 30-2 or English 33
    Math 30-1, Math 30-2, Pure Math 30, Math 30, Applied Math 30 (60%) or Math 33 (60%)
    Biology 30 (recommended) or 60% in Biology 20, Chemistry 30 (recommended) or 60% in Chemistry 20, or Science 30


    Course ID: NRES114


    Hours: 125

    Credits: 6



    Course ID: NRES111


    Hours: 80

    Credits: 3

    The process and application of Global Positioning Systems (GPS) are covered in this course including navigation, data collection, and data transfer using GPS software. In addition, Geographic Information System (GIS) software will be used to perform a range of GIS tasks including data management, data editing, map query, and map production.
    Aerial photo maps will be interpreted for navigation and field vegetation and terrain classification purposes. The use of aerial photos for planning purposes and field procedures are covered in this course.


    Math 30-1, Math 30-2, Pure Math 30, Math 30, Applied Math 30 (60%) or Math 33 (60%)
    Strongly recommended NRES 109 Mapping and Navigation


    Course ID: NRES120


    Hours: 120

    Credits: 3

    Apply what you learn in the classroom to a work environment. Work placements will be completed with natural resource industry partners where students will assist in day-to-day field operations and learn valuable hands-on skills needed to be a successful employee.


    Course ID: NRES203


    Hours: 80

    Credits: 3

    The responsible conservation and management of wildlife resources is contingent on collecting unbiased, representative data using modern, ethical, scientific sampling techniques. Thus, this course is intended to introduce students to wildlife management focusing especially on techniques for monitoring, marking, observing, sampling, dissecting, identifying, and, generally, studying wild mammalian and avian populations. An emphasis will be placed on species indigenous to Alberta. Students will study the biology and anatomy of Alberta’s major vertebrate species, with emphasis given to mammals and birds. The skillset gained from this course applies to duties potentially carried out by wildlife research technicians in the private, non-government, and government sectors alike. Prerequisites: NRES 122 and NRES 155


    Course ID: NRES202


    Hours: 80

    Credits: 3

    NRES 202 will provide information required on the process to complete an application for a new development or project. Environmental Assessments will be reviewed taking into consideration all aspects of the environment; including water, vegetation, wildlife, and historic resources. Pre-disturbance assessment and conservation, as well as the application process for land disposition in Alberta will be reviewed. This course covers Integrated Land Management (ILM) planning on Public Lands within Alberta. Instruction focuses on the history of land management in Alberta, strategic planning and cooperation of resourced based industries, reduction of human-caused footprint on public land, the Alberta Land-Use Framework, and provincial and local examples of ILM. In particular, an emphasis will be on standard forest management practices for sustainable forestry, integrated resource management, and ecosystem management. The Forest Act Regulations, forest ethics, and forest practice codes will be discussed. Prerequisites: Completion of first year NRT


    Course ID: NRES205


    Hours: 80

    Credits: 3

    This course provides an introduction to petroleum land management and associated topics in Alberta. Brief introductions will be made in petroleum history and geology as well as roles of various government agencies, submission and reporting procedures, and acts and regulations that govern the petroleum industry in Alberta. Drilling waste management and resulting disposal methods of liquid and solid hazardous waste will be discussed. An introductory treatment of pollution, including abatement techniques, will be covered. Secondary containment at industrial facilities, and accidental release and containment procedures will be practiced. Aboriginal consultation and the use of traditional knowledge in the oil and gas sector will be discussed. Prerequisites: NRES 105 Communications


    Course ID: NRES210


    Hours: 80

    Credits: 3

    This course focuses on the exploration and reclamation of sand and gravel pits, oil leases and access roads within the boreal forest. Application for mineral and surface rights, reclamation business plans will be covered. Online tools, ‘Reclamation Criteria for Wellsites and Associated Facilities for Forested Lands’ and ‘Reclamation Criteria for Wellsites and Associated Facilities for Cultivated Lands’ will be used to evaluate reclamation projects. There will be an emphasis on ecological reclamation processes and equipment cost calculators. Prerequisites: NRES 106, NRES 108, NRES 206, and NRES 110


    Course ID: NRES207


    Hours: 80

    Credits: 3

    This course will provide the Natural Resources student with an introduction to legal concepts and how they apply to environmental practitioners, as well as a thorough look at Environmental Site Assessments (ESA’s). In the law-based component of this course, private, public, and international law, including both federal and provincial acts that govern the environmental aspects of industry operations and development will be examined. In the ESA component of this course, aspects for completing Phase I ESA such as collecting and compiling data, performing an interview and completing the physical site inspections will be learned and practiced. Skills on how to plan and supervise a Phase II ESA, including common contaminants and their migration patterns, sampling methodologies, and interpretation of laboratory results will be discussed, as well as introductory aspects of Phase III ESA’s. Prerequisites: Completion of first year NRT or BIOL 101, or BIOL 102, or CHEM 101


    Course ID: NRES206


    Hours: 80

    Credits: 3

    Soil is considered the living skin of the earth and as a valuable resource, it is worthy of protection. All processes of erosion from siltation to mass movement will be studied. This course focuses on soil properties and processes that make them vulnerable to wind and water erosion. Understanding these processes help erosion control personal design and implement proper BMP's to prevent soil loss from construction sites. Establishing vegetation as quickly as possible is important for long-term soil stabilization. The use of site-specific vegetation and microclimates are also studied.

    Pre/Corequisite NRES 106 Introduction to Soils


    Course ID: NRES208


    Hours: 80

    Credits: 3

    Global issues is designed to give students a deeper understanding of the socio-environmental challenges and opportunities we face on various scales.  The course uses western science and Indigenous ways of knowing to examine a range of environmental issues.  Students will learn various theoretical and practical approaches to environmental management and planning issues.  Specific topics include renewable and non-renewable energy use, climate change, biodiversity and conservation, environmental politics, food and water security, environmental planning and management techniques, and urban development.  These topics will be delved into from a regional, national and global scale.

    Pre/Corequisite Completion of first year NRT, BIOL 101, BIOL 102, or CHEM 101



    Course ID: EASC101


    Hours: 84

    Credits: 3

    EASC101 introduces students to basic concepts of physical geology. Following an introduction to minerals as the basic building blocks of earth materials, igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks are examined. This is followed by a detailed look at the earth's internal structure and processes that occur within it. Students are acquainted with the theory of plate tectonics as a unifying concept in geology, after which crustal tectonics and resulting deformation structures are explored. Earth surface processes are also examined including weathering, mass movement, surface water movement, glaciations, wind action, and desert processes. The final part of the course introduces students to the application of remote sensing and GIS in the earth sciences.
    Prerequisite: Completion of first-year NRT or 60% in ELA 30-1 and BIO 30 or CHEM 30

    Course ID: NRES204


    Hours: 80

    Credits: 3

    This course combines information from soils, vegetation, wetland, remote sensing, and other introductory courses to properly perform Ecosite and Range Plant Community type classification and mapping. We will also discover the characteristics of Alberta’s Natural Regions and Subregions, and learn how to detect and identify rare ecological communities. ArcMap will be used to perform a range of GPS/GIS tasks including data management, data editing, map query, map production, and geographic analyses. Prerequisites: NRES 105, NRES 111, and NRES 106


    Course ID: NRES233


    Hours: 45

    Credits: 3

    Collecting, analyzing, and interpreting quantitative evidence is integral to natural resource science and management. This course is an introduction to the statistical concepts used in the field, including both graphical and numerical analysis. The course will cover experimental design/data collection, presentation of scientific results, descriptive statistics, and parametric and non-parametric tests. Topics covered include uses and misuses of statistics, methods of sampling, probability theory and distributions, data collection, measures of average and variation, sampling distributions of means and proportions, confidence intervals, hypothesis testing, one-way and two-way analysis of variance, correlations, regression, and population estimation. Prerequisites: MATH 30 and NRES 105


    Course ID: BIOL208


    Hours: 84

    Credits: 3

    Ecology is the scientific study of the interactions between organisms and their environment. This course provides an overview of the limiting factors that influence the living (biotic) components of our ecosystems. Interactions between these biotic components (e.g., competition and predation), population growth, life strategies, and the behaviours of individual organisms are also considered. This course provides general concepts that can stand alone or serve as preparation for advanced ecology courses. Labs complement lecture concepts and include the gathering, analysis, and interpretation of data from ecological experiments and field studies. Prerequisites: Completion of first year NRT or 60% in ELA 30-1 and BIOL 101 or BIOL 102

We acknowledge that Portage College’s service region is on the traditional lands of First Nation Peoples, the owners of Treaty 6, 8 and 10, which are also homelands to the Métis people. We honour the history and culture of all people who first lived and gathered in these lands.
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